Beyond the Clouds by Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, S.A.C. - Page 87

We all have likely encountered turbulence during flights at some time or another. On occasions, the Captain informs the passengers in anticipation of the impending disturbance, while in other instances, we can also be caught unaware. I have heard of an airplane going down as many as 30 meters during a flight over Goa, India. By the grace of God, the plane withstood the pressure of the sudden loss in altitude, and continued its journey onward unscathed. The passengers, however, surely had their stomach turned upside down! The worst turbulence that I experienced was in a small plane when flying between the Caribbean islands of Barbados and Santa Lucia. The runway itself was as long as a courtyard, and the small plane took off like a eagle. Seated right in the front of the plane, I could see its nose plunging into very thick, dark clouds. The flight itself was as good as a bullock cart ride in the North Indian Pallottine mission of Kutela in 1974, when I was sent there as a minor seminarian for mission experience! The Pilot was not perturbed a bit, as it was his daily routine to fly the small plane in that area. However, I was undoubtedly strengthened in my faith in God with such a flight. In real life, too, we all hit air pockets at some time or another. It can be sudden and totally unexpected. If the seatbelt is fastened, often we escape unhurt. If not, it can injure or even kill us; as we are often only left with a fraction of a second to react. As I write these lines, we are preparing ourselves for the first Sunday of Advent tomorrow. The Gospel’s message is that we must be vigilant for the coming of the Son of Man. We need to watch and pray when we see extraordinary signs which almost indicate the end of the world. Wars, violence, earthquakes, fires, rains… these all represent disharmony, and the human destabilization of natural order, against the intention of the Creator Himself. “Superficially, apart from a few obvious signs of pollution and deterioration,” Pope Francis writes in his Encyclical, On The Care for Our Common Home, “things do not look that serious, and the planet could continue as it is for some 87